By Team NSHM | Nov 6, 2017

Inspiring Start-ups: How Zivame Pushed The Right Buttons Towards Success

Generally people are quick to criticize taboos present in the society either out loud or in hushed tones. But there can be a good side to it which goes un-noticed. One such topic is lingerie. We need it, but choose not to talk about it. It was this mindset that a young Richa Kar successfully broke and liberated women across the country. Breaking the taboo fueled her e-commerce based lingerie brand’s marketing strategy and thus established Zivame, which offers over 5,000 styles, 50 brands and 100 sizes.

Identifying Need

While doing a study of the Indian lingerie industry, Richa Kar stumbled upon a massive gap between the demand and supply of lingerie, a category worth Rs 12,000 crores in India.  Soon she realized that the customer experience for lingerie is very poor in India. From unavailability of sizes to absence of any female sales executives, every single step of lingerie shopping posed a major bottleneck for the ultimate consumer – a woman. This compelled her to think about starting a business in this sector. Without wasting much time, Richa Kar created an online platform Zivame in 2011, with the vision of helping women to shop freely for intimate wear.

Finding & Implementing Solutions

The word “Zivame” means “Radiant me”. With that, Richa put in efforts to make the buying process smooth. The first step here was to focus on sizes beyond the popular ones. They introduced more cup sizes and styles which went on to create a comprehensive and varied range of lingerie therefore becoming a hit with women.

Initially, she started with her personal savings of 35 Lakhs. Eventually they raised around $48 million from marquee investors. The brand utilized all funds towards business expansion, development of new products, hiring talent, acquiring technology and marketing products.

Brand’s USP

Lot of factors jointly helped the brand to become India’s largest and most popular lingerie website.

  • The availability of comprehensive range of lingerie works very well for the success of the brand.
  • Proprietary blogs and articles in the brand’s website to help speak out about the problems women face in selecting lingerie.
  • Fitting salons in select locations where consultants guide women to find out their right size.
  • Discreet packaging so that no one except the recipient will be aware of the contents.
  • A ‘No questions asked, money back’ return policy and various customer friendly options.
  • A dedicated core team of executors and logistics resources backing up the brand website.

Challenges & Overcoming Them

Achieving this success was not a cakewalk for her. During an interview, she stated that getting support from her family was the biggest challenge for setting up Zivame. Her mother once famously told her what every middle class parent would- “sabko kya bolenge?” But soon her parents understood her perspective and supported her. A similar struggle occurred while finding a place for her startup. This she overcame by deciding to stay mum about the use of the place. All of her struggles were worth it when she was awarded and rewarded at various platforms for her idea and the successful execution of her business.

Richa owes her success to her B-school knowledge, which prepared her to manage time and resources under pressure. One of the important takeaways from this success story is finding hidden opportunities in the plight of common people and replacing them with realistic solutions. This attention to detail will take any business to its desired success.